It was a lovely night for a game at Sporting Park, and for the first 30 minutes it looked like Sporting Kansas City was clicking.
Within the first 15 seconds KC got a shot on goal as Jacob Peterson sprinted into a challenge, won the ball from a Seattle Sounders defender, and fired from 18. Unfortunately it was right at the keeper.
Graham Zusi looked ultra-confident, bringing down a ball with a flick of the toe, and beating defenders at will. And Peterson Joseph looked more and more comfortable, feinting well and keeping the ball moving in the middle with crafty little touches.
By midway through the first half it seemed KC had regained their form from Sunday when they scored four goals against Chivas. Sporting was just pinging the ball around, utilizing a lot of one touch passing. Nice.
But somehow, some way, by the end of 90+ minutes, the boys in blue managed to regress into some terrible, unrecognizable form. I hate to say it, but they didn’t deserve to eke out a 0-0 draw and earn the single point for it. Nope, when Seattle scored an improbable 94th minute shocker, Sporting got exactly what they deserved.
“It was a monumental mistake on our part,” said KC boss Peter Vermes. “There’s nothing else to say. It’s a simple one. We were coming up the field and we play the ball square across the field. For what reason? I have absolutely no idea. Monumental mistake. There’s nothing I can say around the goal other than it was a major mistake on our part. We gifted that to them.”
Not to mention the first half Ike Oparra handball that easily could have been called for a penalty.
Following that no-call, Seattle’s backup keeper, Marcus Hahnemann was ejected from the bench for foul and abusive language. You don’t see that everyday.
OK, so what happened to KC? How did they go from world-beaters on Sunday to losing to the worst team in the Western Conference at home on Wednesday?
With three games in eight days, Vermes was again forced to vary up his lineup. Even so, Sporting started to look spent almost immediately in the 2nd half. Instead of attacking and building they began playing everything side to side and backwards.
“For as well as we played in the first half, that’s how bad we played in the second,” Zusi lamented. “A horrible second half for us. It’s not anything they did. They didn’t really have too many sniffs at our goal. Passing was off. Touches were off. Just a poor second half. I don’t know. It could have been a lack of energy. I thought we were just dull the second half.”
Quality began to slip. Quickly.
Chance Myers couldn’t get a decent cross in. (Has he heard of a cutback?)
CJ Sapong posted up and held the ball well with a man on his back, but he simply could not turn, and thus became extremely predictable.
The game ground down to a miserable, boring midfield battle, with neither side creating, well, anything.
There was one bright spot, I suppose, around the 73rd minute when a huge cheer went up through the stadium. Wouldn’t you know it, Kei Kamara was checking in, fresh off his stint in the EPL at Norwich City.
But Kei really didn’t do much of anything, which is expected given the fact he hasn’t been with Sporting all year. In fact, all the way into the 87th minute, neither team had created a legitimate scoring chance.
Then, like clockwork in the 94th minute, Seattle notched a last second goal off a throw in after KC failed to clear the ball.
“Like jumping in an ice bath,” said KC keeper Jimmy Nielsen when asked about the final and decisive play. “It was like, ‘Jesus Christ, what’s going on here?'”
All I can say is KC got what they deserved.